One mother’s response to her 7 year old about female body image
by Janell Hofmann
I am sitting, cross legged, on the bathroom floor trimming my five year old daughters’ toenails. My nine year old son showers his muddy body as I lean against the tub. My three year old daughter wrestles herself into pajamas in her bedroom. My eleven year old son bursts in from football practice and hollers upstairs about reheating leftovers and having a sore throat. My husband is out dropping our minivan off for a tune up. The sun has set and we’re putting another day to rest. In the confusion of this typical weeknight, I glance up from the floor at my seven year old daughter, standing on the step stool, completely undressed, brushing her teeth. I don’t like the way she is looking at herself in the mirror. I don’t like the way she pokes at her belly and frowns at her profile. I watch her for another minute and step in.
“What’s up, girl?” I ask. “I’m fat.” she responds without hesitation. I’m instantly weak. She continues, “My stomach jiggles when I run. I want to be skinny. I want my stomach to go flat down.” I am silent…
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